By Patrick Tedder
The rematch between McGregor and Diaz was one of the best UFC fights this year and an instant classic. It was a shining example of athleticism, planning and supreme fighting. With the exception of the women’s match and the main event, there was practically nothing close to resembling professional fights in tonight’s PPV.
Jessica Andrade vs. Joanne Calderwood – Andrade had Calderwood’s number and took care of business via submission in the first round. I love having at least one female fight in the main event as it’s usually a different type of fighting and the pace can be much quicker than their male counterparts.
Urijah Faber vs. Jimmie Rivera – What happened to Faber? It didn’t look like he won a single round. He did a lot of moving, but Rivera looked like he was locked down and wouldn’t be caught by a big hit. Rivera dominated and Faber looked like he lost after the first round.
CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall – Alright … strap in folks. First, Mickey came out to the song “Mickey” by Toni Basil. It was not only a clever walkout song, it was fun and made Gall look like a pretty boy badass. Punk came out to the same song he used in the WWE, “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour. And, that’s really where this should have stopped.
This wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly and dangerous. Gall made short work of Punk, making it abundtly clear that anyone who thinks they can step into the Octagon and compete with a professional is looking for a hurting unless they’ve put in years of training and have legitimate experience.
In case it isn’t clear, Punk did not have any of this experience. He’s a 37 year old man who got his shot fighting for the first time on a PPV. It was a gimmick and one that UFC never should have allowed. It cheapens the sport and makes for downright terrible matches.
If the UFC wants to hold celebrity fights, that’s fine! But, let’s call them like they are. Punk, with two years of training in an incredibly talented and famous camp was still too green to probably beat anyone who isn’t an amateur.
Punk did say all of the right things and frankly, I want to see him fight more, but not in a PPV capacity. Punk wanted to test himself and everyone wanted to see if he was just high on his dreams or if he actually had a chance. In his post-fight interview he spoke about the importance of following one’s dreams and putting in the work to try to achieve anything that you want, denying the haters. Gall gave us the soundbite of the night, “Fuck the haters.” I agree Mickey, but you can’t blame fans if they feel hoodwinked by this experiment it tried to pass off as a fight.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Travis Browne – Garbage. What an incredibly sloppy and odd fight. It started with Werdum opening up with a flying side kick. Seeing a large man do that was nuts. Then, there was some real bullshit; Browne calls timeout (something you can’t do in the UFC, barring an illegal hit) because his finger was either jammed or broken. The ref, for some reason allowed this and it fucked up the tempo of the entire contest. Werdum then seemed to pull out every single UFC move possible to the point of looking silly. Against a better opponent, his shenanigans would probably have been shut down.
What do you need to take away from this match? The crowd rained down boos. It was the Punk contest, but full rounds of ugly. The most interesting thing to happen was someone from Browne’s camp was talking shit to Werdum after the fight and Werdum kicked him. The post-fight interview did not ask about the altercation which was lame.
Stipe Miocic vs. Alistair Overeem – This was a back and forth match that the Cleveland crowd wanted to see. Miocic, the UFC pride of Cleveland was the equivalent of McGregor fighting in front of his raucous Irish fans. While it looked like the fight could go either way in the first round, but Miocic, who claims he’s going to hold his title for a long time, did just that, getting Overeem to the ground and then pounding him with brutal strikes to end the match.
The crowd went nuts and it was a neat scene and way to end the PPV. That said, it wasn’t a classic fight and I think folks were looking for anything to get excited for.
If the UFC is smart, they won’t pull this shit again. Punk may have been one of main reasons people bought the PPV, to see how he’d do, but this was a one-and-done cash grab. If folks see something like this anywhere close to often, you better believe the UFC will lose its audience of casual viewers.